Hidden deep in the woods on the outskirts of Fenton, you will find Rancho Recordo – a recording studio where Music Producer Marc Hudson works with musicians from all around the world. Marc is the studio owner, tour manager, audio engineer, and a musician. Having worked with many bands including Against Me, an American punk rock band; Saves the Day, The Swellers, Taking Back Sunday and several others, Marc himself plays the bass guitar and the violin.
While he enjoyed touring with the bands, Marc is most passionate about working with sound. “That’s my main interest,” he admits. And he likes working out of his own studio, Rancho Recordo, along with Raymond Jeffrey and Dan Tittiger. The last few months, Marc has been working with Against Me. Rancho Recordo has a control room, tons of sound equipment and instruments, a sound booth, multiple video cameras and lighting, and space for band members to lodge.
Marc has always been interested in music and sound production. “Since high school, it was inevitable,” he recalls. “Making records – that’s all I wanted to do. It seemed to be something that mattered.” He attended Valley School in Flint and interned at local studios, including a cable-access TV show, Take No Prisoners, which featured live local bands, and at the WFBE studio on the Take No Prisoners public radio show. He has operated studios at various locations in Flint and in Washington, D.C.
Marc eventually met up with Matt Olivo, who was doing sound for movies in Los Angeles. “He asked me if I would start a studio with him in California,” says Marc. “I went with him to L.A. and did sound design for television shows.” Unfortunately, Marc didn’t like the lifestyle or the traffic there, and he wanted to be near family. He moved back to Flint and opened a studio on Pierson Road and began working with many local bands. While in L.A., he also did movie sound work from contacts he had made. “It was around that time I started to tour,” he adds.
For about 13 years, Marc was tour manager for Saves the Day, a band from New Jersey. “They were on the rise at the time. We traveled overseas and opened for a lot of bands.” He also toured with Taking Back Sunday, who he accompanied on two tours at military bases overseas. “That was really neat!” he exclaims. “The soldiers that made up the audience really related to the music.” He also toured overseas off-and-on with Against Me, who played in abandoned buildings (a very popular venue) in countries such as Serbia, Lithuania and Croatia.
Another band Marc has worked with, Happy Body Slow Brain, included some ex-members of Taking Back Sunday. “They were a joy to work with,” says Marc. “They were well-prepared and great musicians.”
Being a tour manager is a lot of work, according to Marc. His job is to find venues where bands can perform, book hotel rooms and flights, and send out advance releases. “It’s sort of a babysitting job,” he laughs, adding that he makes sure the band members behave themselves. “It’s a long day. I’m the first one up and the last one out. It is mind-consuming; I’m in charge of everything.” On previous tours, he was gone for months at a time. He would also accompany the bands on TV talk show appearances around the United States. The most recent appearance was when Against Me appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers. “I did all the work behind the scenes,” says Marc.
Marc enjoys the music of the many rock bands he works with, but he likes to listen to some jazz when he wants to unwind. “I also like hip-hop,” he says, adding that at his first couple of studios, he worked with hip-hop artists and also recorded Gospel music. “There’s a lot of good stuff happening in Flint and the Detroit area,” he says. And although he loves having the studio in the Fenton area, he tends to work mostly with out-of-state bands.
Marc is looking forward to an upcoming solo tour of Laura Jane Grace, who performs with Against Me. She is currently recording her latest album at Rancho Recordo. Marc will be playing bass with Laura Jane Grace on an East Coast tour. “It’s been a long time since I played a show,” he smiles. They will perform at New York’s Lincoln Center, and in Washington, D.C. and Rhode Island. “There’s a lot of interesting stuff out there,” says Marc. “Now, I just want to work on things that interest and excite me.”